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The best place to work in Australia

The best place to work in Australia

Tech company Atlassian, which is famous for its quirky style of management, was named Australia’s top employer in BRW’s Best Places To Work awards.

When people get a job with the Sydney-based software company they get paid to take a holiday first. They can also spend one day a week working on a project of their own choice and freely use all the perks you might expect at an IT company – pool table, drinks fridge, free lollies and games.

But these are not the reason Atlassian, with 900 employees around the world, topped this year’s list. It won because of practices that encourage transparency and employee empowerment. These include regular open conversations with the founders, Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar, the ability of employees to contribute to financial year plans, and minimum bureaucracy around things like performance management.

The awards are compiled by global workplace assessment and research organisation Great Place to Work, which examined the workplace policies and culture of 137 companies that took part this year. Full coverage is in Friday’sAFR Boss magazine.

Great Place To Work polls employees on trust, pride and camaraderie, and conducts a culture audit with management.

This year, for the first time, the awards were split between large companies – more than 100 employees – and smaller ones.

The top three large companies were Atlassian, high-frequency trading company Optiver – last year’s winner – and customer-relationship management provider Australia. The leading smaller companies were physiotherapy clinics group The Physio Co, camping goods maker Coleman Brands and Newcastle-based SiDCOR Chartered Accountants.

Great Place To Work Australia managing director Zrinka Lovrencic said the value of being a good employer flowed through to profits: average productivity (revenue) per employee is 13.76 per cent higher in the companies that made it onto the best companies list, compared with those that did not. Ms Lovrencic noticed the best companies did not slash training costs when the economy got rocky: “They did invest in their people and they managed to build loyalty when they couldn’t compensate them financially.”

However, the strongest trend in people-management is the creation of meaning in people’s work.

“That is what Atlassian do a really good job at. Apart from the fact they are really cool and fun . . . their employees really buy into what they are doing.”

Lovrencic says the sense of meaning has to come from the leaders.

“Individuals can’t create their own meaning. You would be surprised how many organisations we work with outside the study whose senior leadership ask why their employees need to know what the strategy is and what the goals are. They know what job they have to do and that is it.

“Unfortunately, that is a very narrow-minded view. If you just give someone a task to do, they don’t understand how it connects to the surrounding tasks.”

*Original Article by Fiona Smith:

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